President McDavis speaks to crowd

President Roderick J. McDavis speaks to first-year students on Monday

Photographer: Kevin Riddell

Students signing Honor Code at Convocation

First-year students sign Honor Code at Convocation

Photographer: Kevin Riddell

First-Year students marching up Richland Avenue

Marching 110 leads students up Richland Avenue

Photographer: Kevin Riddell

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Student convocation celebrates new beginnings

More than 4,000 first-year students welcomed to campus

Ohio University's first-year students officially kicked off their academic careers Monday at the annual First-Year Student Convocation. 

Led by President Roderick J. McDavis, the annual convocation drew approximately 4,000 new Bobcats for a ceremony of welcome and university pride. Faculty, staff and student leaders were also on hand to welcome the newest members of the university family.

In his welcome, McDavis acquainted first-year students with OHIO's core values and elaborated on the promise of Ohio University – "a promise that always will be with you, especially as you transition into the world and become leaders in your profession and in your community."

Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit likened undergraduates' quest for knowledge to a roller coaster.

"Take advantage of your time here to ride the rollercoaster, discover, explore and create," Benoit said. "And by all means, keep your eyes wide open and scream with delight because this is a momentous journey and one you should not let pass you by."

A Sea of Green

Following the convocation, McDavis and The Marching 110 led a sea of green – all first-year students clad in their green OHIO T-shirts – up Richland Avenue and through College Gate, symbolizing entry into the university community.

"It's the first time we've really seen everyone together…and it literally looks like millions of people," said freshman athletic training major Bridget Mearns, looking back over the sea of green OHIO T-shirts charging up Richland Avenue.

"I'm overwhelmed," added freshman journalism major Hal Roberts, keeping pace alongside fellow first-year students on their final stretch to the College Gate. "I had a lot of Bobcat pride that I didn't even know I had. The ceremony brought it out in me… It feels like it all started today."

An Honorable Start

As they passed through College Gate, each member of the Class of 2014 had an opportunity to sign the university's new Honor Code. 

Drafted by Student Senate and approved by an overwhelming majority of the student body in recent elections, the code states that members of the Ohio University community will act with academic, social, and civic responsibility, holding themselves to the "highest standards of personal honesty and ethical behavior in (their) academic work."

"Now, I know what you are thinking, great another set of rules for me to follow," Student Trustee Kyle Triplett told incoming students, during his convocation address. "But that's not the case – no one is going to force you to act with social, civic and academic responsibility.

The only person that is going to hold you accountable for your actions, decisions, and development here at Ohio University is you, and that is the beauty of the Honor Code – self-accountability."

A Niche to Call their Own

As first-year students pressed onto College Green, they were met by representatives from more than 200 campus organizations at the Student Involvement Fair. The fair annually introduces first-year students to the numerous ways they can become involved with the OHIO community.

"It's just really important, I think, to help the freshmen get involved right away from the beginning," said senior Andrea Crusham, president of the Collegiate Middle Level Association. "Getting involved really helped me as a freshman. It got me to know students above me in my major, from whom I received advice and mentoring on classes and things like that."

"You're missing out on a lot of what's offered at the university if you don't get involved in student organizations," said Jonathan Olivito, a second-year graduate student with the Spanish Club. "If you don't get involved, it's just hard to meet people."